Dickinson County Healthcare is playing an integral role in collaborating closely with local public health organizations to bring the COVID-19 vaccine into the region.
DCH has been approved and registered as a COVID-19 Vaccine Provider site by the CDC and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services in the state’s “hub-and-spoke” model for distribution.
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services will provide DCH with vaccine shipments, which will then be stored at DCH and allocated following guidance from the Dickinson-Iron District Health Department and distributed for administration.
While the amount of vaccine the region will receive will be small at first, the volume is anticipated to grow progressively over time. The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department is working carefully to supervise the vaccine allocation plan that aligns priority recipients with the available supply.
“An important part of our mission is to take care of the community, and during times of crisis like these, it is certainly an honor for our organization to step up and serve the community,” said Chuck Nelson, Dickinson County Healthcare Chief Executive Officer. “We are grateful to have the opportunity to have a role in the process for distributing the vaccine as quickly and as safely as possible.”
Pfizer, the U.S.-based pharmaceutical company, received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for emergency use of their vaccine on December 11th, the first in the nation. Dickinson County Healthcare was chosen as a distribution hub because of its ability to store Pfizer’s vaccine, which requires storage at about -94 degrees Fahrenheit.
Through the generosity of the Dickinson County Hospital Foundation, one of these freezers was purchased and recently delivered in anticipation of vaccine approval and initial delivery, expected to be around December 15th. The freezer can hold up to 90,000 vaccination doses for storage.
“We are extremely grateful to our foundation for making this purchase for our region and the people of our communities,” said Nelson. “Cold storage freezers are in extremely high demand and we are proud of the foundation to immediately step forward and be a proactive part of this effort. Their support means when the vaccines arrive, we have the capacity to properly and safely store them.”